March 7, 1937 – December 16, 2020
Helen Murray was born in Burnsville, AL on March 7, 1937 to her late parents, Howard and Minnie Bell Hornbuckle. She grew up in the rural south and came from humble beginnings. The family lived in various towns and communities before settling in Birmingham.
In the mid 50’s, Helen, her mom and younger sister moved from Alabama to Vernonia, Oregon to join some of the family that had already moved to Vernonia. She attended Vernonia Union High School her freshman and sophomore year. At Vernonia Union High School Helen was introduced to typing and shorthand. This was her first time using a typewriter. She eventually learned the mechanics of the typewriter and the art of shorthand, perfecting both of those business skills.
Helen recalls fond memories of taking Sunday drives with her sister, brother, his wife and their kids after church, up and down the Oregon coastline and to Portland. The family later moved to Portland where she attended Jefferson High School her junior and senior year and continued to excel in her typing and shorthand classes.
While still in high school, Helen met the love of her life, Nelson Murray. They married in 1958 and remained married for 62 years; until death parted them. To their union was seven children. A woman who loved her family, Helen poured her heart and soul into her husband and children.
She stood by her husband and supported him in everything he did and kept the home in order. Helen was involved in every school event and PTA meeting at her children’s school. This included Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Camp Fire Girls and going on school field trips.
When the grandkids came along and were school age, Helen had a home school that she called “Grandma’s School.” She would teach the grand kids their ABC’s, multiplication tables, read them Bible stories, take them to the Reading Tree in the park, and to the local library in the neighborhood for story time.
She enjoyed cooking, gardening and decorating. When the winter holidays came around, she looked forward to planning her Thanksgiving dinner for the family. During the summer months you would find Helen hosting back yard barbeques.
Beautifying the home both inside and outside gave Helen great joy and pleasure. She loved looking through her interior decorating magazines to getting new decorating ideas and she liked browsing the garden sections at the store or the nurseries looking at the assorted flowers and plants. She would not leave until she found the right flower, plant or rose to put in her garden.
Helen loved the Lord and was an active member of the churches she attended. Prior to joining her brother’s church, she attended Emanuel Temple church in the mid to late sixties and took an active role as a Sunday School teacher, and a member of the choir.
At Grace & Truth church, she was instrumental in planning and helping launch their first Vacation Bible School and was one of the teachers. She rejoined Emmanuel Temple in 2004 and was an active member of the Mother’s Board. Helen is preceded in death by her daughter: Victoria Ruth Murray; her parents: Howard and Minnie Bell Hornbuckle; two brothers: William Hornbuckle and Bishop Howard Hornbuckle (Julie Mae); and four sisters: Ruby Johnson, Mittie Mae Clark, Zula Johnson and Ernestine Hawkins.
She leaves a legacy of love for family and God to be cherished by her husband: Nelson Murray and her six children: Harmonia R. Murray, Thalia A. Murray, Yolanda D. Murray, Rickey N. Murray, Randy M. Murray and Wendy E. Murray-Lewis (Patrick Lewis); twelve grandchildren; and nine great grandchildren. She has two surviving sisters, Bernice Hornbuckle and Myrtle Minnieweather (Reverend Stewart).